CLR Case Studies–Broward County Library

Population Trends and Planning


Broward County, the main library, three regional libraries, and the 29 branch libraries have been designed individually to provide particular services and to cater to particular audiences within different areas of the community. Each branch purposely reflects the community it serves. To meet the growing demand for Spanish-language materials, for instance, Spanish collections have been expanded from three library locations to ten, including the main library. International collections at targeted branches include Spanish, French, Creole, German, and Chinese.

The present county population is 1,338,748. It is a diverse population of ethnic, religious, and age groupings. For example, there are significant Hispanic, Jewish, and senior populations. The median age is declining. Most of the user population is literate and well-educated.

For a time, this population mix is expected to remain nearly the same, based on county Economic Development Council projections. But, over the next five to ten years, some dramatic changes are foreseen. As the population of the county grows larger, it also will become more ethnically diverse. Although senior citizens, who constitute a majority of the area’s population, will define the community and its needs well into the next century, projections are that the percentages of the elderly population will eventually decline. Newcomers will be working-age people. For every three working adults coming into Broward County, one child will be added as well. The library’s programs in the future will have to reflect these changes. It is expected that the demand for library services will continue to expand and become more intense. User surveys and population projections have helped to determine the direction in which the library is moving by providing a foundation for identifying the opportunities and challenges set forth in the library’s strategic plan, a document that was carefully prepared by a planning steering committee in 1993.